What Finland lacks to become a successful culturally diverse country like Canada

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Anti-immigration populists and ultranationalist use the code term “immigration policy” to mean that they don’t want non-EU nationals especially Muslims from the Middle East and Africa to move to their country. Finland is no exception and some point to Canada as a good example we could copy when it comes to immigration policy.

Those that make such claims have no idea that Finland’s immigration policy is one of the strictest in Europe and they rarely if ever mention that Canada’s recipe for success is based on how Canadians perceive multiculturalism or cultural diversity.

Näyttökuva 2016-1-27 kello 9.03.19
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A long time ago I came across an interesting article published by Siirtolaisuus – Migration in 1996 authored by J. W. Berry of Canada. The article, Prejudice, Ethnocentrism and Racism, highlights what is needed for cultural diversity to prosper and why it works in Canada.

Berry states:

(1) there needs to be general support for cultural diversity as a valuable resource for a society;

(2) there should be overall low levels of prejudice in the population;

(3) there should be generally positive mutual attitudes among the various ethnocultural groups that constitute the society;

(4) there needs to be a degree of attachment to the larger national society.

Finland fails, in my opinion, in most of the above points. Too many see cultural diversity as a threat to society and prejudice is pretty standard. Ethnocultural groups appear to want to be a part of society but this may be easier said than done. Using terms like “person with foreign background” or labeling children as outsiders because their parents were born elsewhere are sad examples of exclusion from the larger context of society.

An extreme example of how some Finn want to relegate migrants and minorities to second- and third-class citizens is the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party and other neo-Nazi and ultranationalist groups. Some of them hope that we will follow Denmark’s draconian path.

There are too many examples in Finland and Europe that make Canada look like a different planet when it comes to being a successful and dynamic culturally diverse society.

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We, therefore, prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.